Maison Brandt Frères, Charenton-le-Pont (House of Brandt Bros) (Beaulieu Cinema, Beaulieu - Images) is a French manufacturer of motion picture cameras especially well known for its Super 8 and 16mm hand-held cameras, founded by Marcel Beaulieu. Marcel Beaulieu had earlier been associated with GIC cameras introduced in 1950. The company's first cameras were introduced in the early 1950s. Later they produced their first Super 8 model the 2008 S Beaulieu, introduced in 1965. Though they no longer actively produce new cameras, the company still services and repairs existing Beaulieu cameras.
Beaulieu established a reputation for producing high quality movie cameras for the advanced amateur in 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm. Reflex viewfinders were introduced before these became common. Models include the M8 of 1953, R16 of 1958 (spring motor version), MR8 and TR8 of 1959 and the MAR8 of 1962. In 1965 the R16 Electric, an electric motor version of the R16 was introduced.
Introduction of Super 8
Beaulieu made many cameras for the Super 8 film format, such as the Beaulieu 5008 S and other models in the 1008 through 9008 series while continuing to develop the 16mm R16. Later models include the R16 Sync, R16 Automatic and the more recent 2016 Quartz. The Beaulieu 6016 News is a professional model different to the R16.
In 1978 Beaulieu marketed and sold several low-cost cameras; the Beaulieu 1008XL/1028XL and 60/1068 XLS. These cameras were in fact manufactured by Chinon Industries under the Beaulieu brand. They are very rare, particularly the Beaulieu 1068 XLS.
Among users, Beaulieu became known for its SLR-style motion picture cameras. These cameras had removable C-mount lenses, and a reflex type viewfinder (both features uncommon in this smaller format).
In most Super 8 and some 16mm cameras of the 1960s (e.g. the Bolex H 16), when the 2008 S was introduced, the image from the taking lens was split in two (in a prism): one beam was sent to the film and the other beam to the viewfinder. On the Beaulieu cameras, however, no light was wasted (reflex system) -- either all of it was directed at the film, or while the shutter was closed and the film was advanced, the light hit the mirror on the shutter which directed it into the viewfinder. This meant that the image in the viewfinder flickered while filming, as the mirror shutter (located at 45°) moved up and down. Beaulieu cameras with this design allowed for shorter shutter speeds to be used (1/60 sec), thus providing sharper footage.
60 meter (200 ft) magazines were available, attached to the camera top. 60 meter (200 ft) magazine take-up motors powered by the camera battery through the contacts on the magazine and camera body top contrast with the Bolex wire connection.
As consumers moved from film to video, Beaulieu made some attempts to do the same, but none of these efforts were particularly successful. The company manufactured its last camera in 2002. Both spares and servicing are still available.
The 4008 and R16 models are the ones most likely to be found on eBay. When the 6008 and 7008 models were introduced, the Super 8 format was already losing popularity, consequently, these cameras are quite rare.